Advocate for your school library program with an annual report.

As school libraries are winding down at the end of the school year, collecting overdue books, weeding old equipment, and getting ready to shutter the doors for the summer, this is the perfect time for school librarians to think about drafting an annual report. Even though we are busy with end-of-year tasks, the time is ripe to reflect on the year as a whole and think strategically about next year.

First, let’s start with why…

Annual reports are a great reflection tool that help school librarians think critically on their practice, celebrate accomplishments, and plan ahead. They are also are an excellent way to advocate with stakeholders and advocate for more support or funding. Administrators like to see data, so take this opportunity to gather some figures, especially if you are asking for more funding.

What should be in an annual report?

There is no template per se, but you should tailor your annual report to meet your school’s needs. Be sure to include the good, the bad, and the ugly. Take this opportunity to blow your own horn, but also be honest about areas that need improving when setting goals for next year.

Some suggestions:

  • Mission statement
  • Vision statement
  • Snapshot of your collection
  • Circulation statistics
  • Highlight successful initiatives or collaborations
  • Include special programming
  • Photos of students working, special events
  • Usage statistics for digital resources
  • Goals for next year

Try to make your annual report visually appealing and concise. Use pictures and graphics to convey information when possible. Start with the good and end with the needs, asks, or areas of improvement.

Share, share, share!

Print copies are okay, but create your report in a digital format that is easy to share via email, post on your website, or share on social media. Cast a bigger net you catch more fish, right? Share your report widely to garner more support from your stakeholders.

Annual reports are certainly not a new topic; Jennifer Lagarde shared her take on annual reports in 2013 and Kathryn Lewis contributed last April to Knowledge Quest among others.  

Do you have any thoughts to add or ideas to share? Please comment below.


Author: Sedley Abercrombie

Sedley Abercrombie is the district digital learning and library media programs specialist for Davidson County Schools in North Carolina, an NCSLMA executive board member, and an adjunct instructor at East Carolina University.

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics

4 replies

  1. I’ve been doing this for years and one of the most important pieces is scheduling our meeting in the summer when things aren’t as hectic, when the principal is unlikely to be called away or busy with other meetings. It gives me the time to fully explain the library program and the impact we have on reading through data that the principal has time to read and digest. It has helped me protect programs like morning checkout as my daily “duty” and relief from other extra duties. It allows us to plan the events for the upcoming school year to ensure we don’t have conflicts with book fair or other activities. I have the time to explain what my goals are, both official ones that I’m evaluated on and the soft ones that are what I want to try, explore, expand and grow with.

  2. This article is very timely. Thanks for listing the topics you cover in your yearly report. Now I can focus on what I want to emphasize for next year. Tracey’s comments about finding a good time to discuss the report and stressing the importance of clarifying what tasks I feel are most important to run a successful library program are also useful.

  3. I would like to see the annual report answer the question that is on every administrator’s mind: “How has the library contributed to the success of our students?” In the long run, I doubt that they are interested in circulation statistics. In order to answer the question, it would mean having throught about this from the beginning of the school year. At the end of the year is too late.

  4. Jennifer LaGarde just posted an updated Annual Report blog post and also shared a list of curated examples:

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